Monday, March 26, 2007

TMNT (2007) In Review

Last Friday, a friend of mine called me and said he and a couple of other friends were going to see the new TMNT movie. I am a long time fan of the TMNT series, and I've seen all three movies prior to the release of this one. Naturally, I agreed to go, but I was concerned that since the movie garnered a PG rating, it would cater almost exclusively to a younger audience. Because of this, I also had a few reservations about seeing the film, especially since it was too late to go to my theatre (I work at a movie theatre now) and see the film for free. After seeing the film I thought I'd share my thoughts about the film in a review.

It doesn't suck. Seriously. It was actually pretty good.

Immediately, I must say, the switch from live action to CGI was a great decision. The turtles now have the freedom to do many of the actions that were previously confined to the cartoons and comics. The animation is one of the movie's high points. The great looking New York City serves as a great backdrop for the majority of the film. The turtles themselves look better than ever. No longer big and bulky looking, the turtles look more realistic (well as realistic as a mutant turtle can be), boasting a more animalistic appearance and of course, copious amounts of green. Cinematography is also pretty decent, but at times, the camera can be a bit spastic and dizzying as it seems to switch between different angles a bit too quickly, but thankfully not enough to get in the way of the film's slick visual style.

The plotline however is pretty disappointing. The story itself is highly unoriginal and highly predictable. The story begins 3000 years in the past, in which a tribe of warriors discovers a portal that they believe will grant them immortality. The leader of the tribe gains immortality upon opening the portal, at the expense of his fellow comrades who are turned to stone and 13 monsters are released into our world.

Fast forward to the present day, after the events of the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the turtles have grown apart as a family. Leonardo has been in Central America for the past year training, Michelangelo has taken up a job as "Cowabunga Carl" performing at children's birthday parties, Donatello has taken a job as a 24 hour IT consultant and Raphael has become a masked vigilante, going by the name of "Night Watcher".

Max Winters, the immortal leader of the ancient tribe enlists the services of the Foot Clan, under the leadership of Karai, to aid him in finding the 13 monsters and send them back to where they came from. Immediately there is a problem. Where have these monsters been in the past 3000 years and why is it that they have all of a sudden become active in New York? This is just one of a few glaring plot holes that I just couldn't ignore.

As Leonardo returns to New York City, he and Raphael begin to engage in an emotional conflict, as Raphael is not willing to welcome his brother back into the family so easily after his departure. The conflict between them is certainly interesting to watch, and makes for a nice subplot as tensions between them grow, culminating into a fight 23 years in the making. The fight between Leonardo and Raphael is simply amazing. The two brothers giving each other everything they have, at the peak of their abilities. From both cinematic and technical perspectives, the battle is an amazing feat, as each animation plays out smoothly blending well from one scene to the next, and is by far the best among the film's several great looking fight scenes.

In a sharp contrast to the other films in the TMNT franchise, this one focuses less on humor, choosing instead to present a much darker look into the TMNT franchise. That's not to say there isn't a good bit of campy humor and comedic value in the flick, as Michelangelo, the series' longtime comic relief character has his share of genuinely funny moments that thankfully don't come off as too cheesy or aimed directly at children. Personally, I like this new style. The turtles are noticeably much more mature as characters than their previous film incarnations.

Overall, it was a pretty good film. Longtime fans of the franchise will leave plenty satisfied by the film (unless they were expecting a rich storyline) and will get the most out of it, as there are a few fanservice bits thrown in every now and then. The fight scenes are a visual triumph, and this film's sense of style is one that puts all previous TMNT films to shame. If you're looking for a fun filled action movie then look no further.

If I had to give it a score, I'd probably give it a 7.5.

That'll do it for my review of the film (which was a bit longer than I expected :P). It's just too bad the games weren't as good as the film, but then again, movie adaptations rarely are. In short, if you're a fan, you'll certainly enjoy this. If not, you'll probably still get a good amount of entertainment from it. I have to say, this is, by far, the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie in the franchise.

1 comment:

Cady said...

Good post.